The Hevey Building Supplies Northamptonshire League season reaches the halfway point this weekend and Earls Barton will be hoping the second half of the campaign is as good as the first.
Barton sit at the top of the Division Two table and strengthened their position with a fine 51-run success at second-placed Kislingbury last weekend.
Matt Nel (61) and number 10 George Crisp (44) helped the visitors to 195 in their innings before Kyle Lawrence took centre-stage as his superb spell of 14-3-39-6 ensured Kislingbury were bowled out for 144 in reply.
The first half of the season has gone pretty much the same way as last year for Tom Mills’ side after they started in impressive fashion before slipping out of contention.
But the Barton skipper is hoping they can be in it for the long haul this time.
“We are delighted with the start we have had,” Mills said.
“It has been similar to last year but we fell away and this time we are hoping to maintain it.
“We were unfortunate with a couple of injuries last season, we had two guys dislocate their knee on the field and it was ultimately injuries and unavailability that set us back so we were still fairly happy with where we finished.
“We have stuck with the similar group of players and still got youngsters coming through and we will try to keep up the good start we have had.”
Their youth system is clearly something Barton pride themselves on.
And Mills is adamant that bringing youngsters through is the right way to go.
“Our youth system is thriving,” he added.
“We have two under-11 teams and our All Star sessions are attracting more than 20 every week and that has meant we have been able to put an under-9 team together as well.
“We also have under-13 and under-15 teams and we have already seen a couple of under-15 players make their debuts in men’s cricket this season.
“The vast majority of players who play for the senior teams came through the youth system and that’s how we want it to always be.”
Finedon Dolben maintained their pursuit of Premier Division leaders Old Northamptonians with a 22-run win over Northampton Saints.
While ONs were enjoying a 10-wicket victory against Brigstock, Dolben were involved in a closer encounter.
Vicram Sohal (64) top-scored in Finedon’s 236-8 and, despite a fine knock of 95 from Matt Taylor, Saints were dismissed for 214 as Michael Evans (3-17) led a good all-round effort with the ball.